Sunday, January 25, 2015

Carlton Plaza: Home, sweet senior home


Carlton Plaza residents Virginia Aalborg and George Hinkle dance together in the activity room. Personal Expression Manager Pam Roy watches Aalborg's cocker spaniel, Daisy, as Mina Zamora, personal care aide, and Barbara and Paul Munson look on. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

From page A1 | April 15, 2014 |

Davisite George Hinkle refers to two dates in his life with powerful distinction: Dec. 7, 1941, and March 22, 2014.

His life, as he tells it, changed radically on both days.

In one, he embarked on a path from being a young barber to an assistant military medic, earned the right for a free ride to college and launched his career in education. On the other date, he moved into the newly built Carlton Plaza in Davis at 2726 Fifth St. on its opening day. It’s a residence for seniors, including those who may find the everyday retirement chores of shopping, cleaning, cooking and finding something to do burdensome or physically demanding.

“I feel like a child who was waiting for Santa Claus, and on March 22, Santa Claus came,” Hinkle said. “All you have to do is breathe, they do everything else for you.”

Carlton Plaza bills itself as an independent living, assisted living and memory care facility. It has a dining room for restaurant-style dining and room service for ill residents, housekeeping, laundry, transportation to medical visits with wheelchair access and other amenities designed to place residents’ minds at ease. It is part of Carlton Senior Living, which has several living centers throughout the Bay Area and Sacramento area. Carlton Plaza is its newest addition.

Independent living and assisted living studio apartment rents start at $2,795, one bedrooms at $3,695 and two bedrooms at $4,895. Services for assisted living are provided on an a la carte basis and a general range of services can cost between $500 to $2,000 each month. For memory care, which includes bathing, dressing, grooming, medication management and other services, the starting rental price is $5,395 per month.

Construction of the 110,000-square-foot facility took 14 months, $17 million and an observation, according to Philip Scott, president of Carlton Senior Living.

“We noticed a shortage of senior living options in Davis,” he said, in a statement. So far Rob Read, Carlton Plaza executive director, counted 80 percent of inquiries coming from Davis. Living situations range from studio to two-bedroom apartments — more than 60 apartments already have been reserved, he said — and up to 36 residents in shared rooms of two for people with need for memory care.

Probably one of the first things a visitor will notice about Carlton Plaza is it is located near the Police Department and right next door to the Konditorei Austrian Pastry Cafe. The second thing is a giant statue of a rearing horse — named Thornado by staff and residents — in front of the building. The third thing is tasteful interior decorating and a fresh, just-built smell like getting inside a brand-new car.

Meals are attuned to healthful portions for seniors instead of the oversized meals normally served at restaurants. Soups taste fresh, and Hinkle swears by the vegetarian tacos. He requests them that way.

Health and wellness is a lifelong success story for Hinkle, who was slated by one of his doctors to die soon after turning 48 years old. The men in his family usually died around 50. His father died at 52.

“I told the doctor I wanted to outlive my dad,” the former hard-drinking, heavy-smoking, red meat-loving, now 92-year-old Hinkle says. “The doctor said his money was on my father.”

The lecture woke up Hinkle to the lifestyle of eating right, quitting smoking and running marathons, which he did well into his 70s. To this day, Hinkle never takes the elevator to his second-floor room and shows visitors the benefits of resistance training a la Jack LaLanne. But Carlton Plaza is a “born again” experience for Hinkle, he loves it so much.

“It’s like a castle without a moat,” he said. “It’s open to everybody.”

— Reach Dave Ryan at or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews



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